The quarterback position is a fickle beast for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford who has done everything he can to help this franchise win games.
It sort of makes sense. The quarterback touches the ball on every offensive snap and thus has the opportunity to succeed or fail from the word “Hut!” However, this doesn’t equate directly to wins and losses. Which brings us back to Stafford.
What does he do on the field? He doesn’t block. He doesn’t run routes. He’s not the one trying to find a hole in the offensive line to run through. He’s not out there trying to tackle the ball carrier (well, not very often…). He’s not guarding receivers or trying to pressure the opposing quarterback.
That being said, why is the quarterback the only position in football given credit for wins and losses? There’s a lot of things happening on a football field that the quarterback has nothing to do with.
Recently, some stats were shared in the Twitter-verse showing the great things he’s accomplished as an individual player. Of course, when sharing that Stafford has been a well-above-average player – according to the stats – during his first 10 seasons, the negative comments came rolling in. My favorite is, “And how many playoff games has he won?”
How many has he won? Oh, you mean how many have the entire Detroit Lions team won? Stafford’s only one player. He certainly doesn’t allow the other team to score all of their points, thus losing the football game all by himself.
Stafford’s naysayers love to sling mud at him for a win-loss record. Even in shootouts when the Lions defense plays like a wet paper bag. Even in come-from-behind defeats in under two minutes. Even when he does everything right but the team still fails to bring home a W. It’s all his fault.
Football is a team sport. In this game, three to five plays can determine who wins and who loses. And for the Lions, they could all be defensive plays and negative fans still crucify Stafford.
So, when Stafford has good games and puts up a lot of stats, the win-loss record is thrown back into the conversation. Or that he’s just padding his stats. That’s where I like this little fact: “In Stafford’s career, 27.1% of his passing yards came in the 4th quarter. For reference, 26.8% of the entire NFL passing yards came in the 4th quarter.”
Garbage time stats for Stafford. Yep. Along with the entire NFL! It’s true, you can use stats and facts to skew your point. Matthew Berry brings it up in his Draft Day Manifesto every year before the season starts. Here’s a fun example: Did you know what Matthew Stafford and Joe Montana have in common? Neither has lost a Super Bowl. Yep, that’s a fact. Along with many other players that never reached a Super Bowl.
Sure, a quarterback can lead his team to victory. He can throw six interceptions and lose a game all by himself, too. There will always be specific examples both ways, but those one-offs can’t be generalized consistently to a player over 10 years. And when seeing a player’s specific accolades, let’s take a step back before judging that player based on the entire team’s failures.